Summary: A Greater Sanctuary. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
A greater sanctuary
Reading: Hebrews chapter 9 verses 1-28.
Question: What do we mean by the term ‘Sanctuary’?
Answer: ‘A specific holy place’.
• In the Old Testament:
• The sanctuary was primarily the tabernacle and then later the temple in Jerusalem.
• The tabernacle was often called the ‘tent of meeting’;
• Because, it was there, in that specific place God met with his people.
• The tabernacle was also called ‘the dwelling place’;
• Because, God dwelt there in a special way.
• Ill: The Hebrew term for the presence of God is ‘Shekinah’.
• This term is often translated into English as ‘glory’.
NOW IN CONTRAST WITH THE TABERNACLE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:
• The New Testament clearly tells us in verses like Acts chapter 7 verses 46-50:
• That ‘God is not worshiped today in temples, buildings, dwellings made with hands’.
• Some Christians today may call a local church building the "house of God,"
• But if you want to be pedantic, that is not strictly true!
• What Christians mean by calling a local church building the "house of God," is:
• The building is dedicated to God and His service,
• But one thing is certain - it is not His dwelling place.
• God does not live there.
• The New Testament teaches that the dwelling place of God is twofold.
• God the Father & God the Son are enthroned in heaven.
• God the Holy Spirit dwells, tabernacles in the hearts and minds of every Christian.
Now in chapter nine of the letter to the Hebrews:
• The writer presents a detailed contrast between the sanctuary (the tabernacle) in the O.T.
• And the new heavenly sanctuary revealed in the N.T. where Jesus Christ now ministers.
• And by contrasting the two, the writer makes it clear;
• That New Covenant sanctuary is far superior to the old.
(A). The inferior Old Covenant sanctuary
THERE ARE 5 REASONS WHY THE NEW COVENANT SANCTUARY IS FAR SUPERIOR TO THE OLD.:
• The old sanctuary had its beauty, if you read the story of how it was made;
• You will notice that only the best craftsmen and materials were used to construct it.
• It contained various types of coverings.
• Linen curtains decorated with blue, purple & scarlet tapestry.
• Precious and semi precious stones were rounded, polished and engraved.
• Gold and silver were beaten and worked in elaborate design.
So the writer of this letter is saying:
• If the old sanctuary of the Old testament was a thing of beauty and glory;
• How much MORE beautiful and glorious is the new heavenly sanctuary.
(1). IT WAS AN EARTHLY SANCTUARY (verse 1).
Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.
• The tabernacle was the centre of Israel’s religious life.
• It was the place where they worshipped God on their journey from Egypt to Canaan.
• Each time they camped;
• They set up the tabernacle.
• It stood at the centre of the camp;
• With the Levite’s tents around it on all four sides.
• Behind the Levites tents were the twelve tribes of Israel;
• Three tribes on each side.
Remember the tabernacle was God’s idea:
• He gave Moses the instructions how to make it.
• And the Jewish people brought their freewill offerings to Moses to pay for it,
• They were so generous in giving that Moses had to tell them to stop!
• And from these materials the tabernacle was constructed.
• After the construction was completed,
• The sanctuary was put in place and dedicated to God (Exodus chapter 40).
• Even though the glory of God moved into the sanctuary,
• It was very much an earthly building, because humans out of earthly materials built it.
And because it was an earthly building, it had several weaknesses.
• (a). For one thing,
• It would need a certain amount of repair.
• (b). Also, it was limited geographically:
• If it was pitched in one place, it could not be in another place.
• (c). And it was limited;
• It belonged to the nation of Israel and not to the whole world.
(2). IT WAS A TYPE OF SOMETHING GREATER
A tabernacle was set up.
In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.
3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,
The writer of this letter:
• Lists for us the various parts and furnishings of the tabernacle;
• Because, each of these carried a spiritual meaning.
• The tabernacle itself was divided into two rooms.
• Verses 2, 3 and 7 refer to these two rooms.